In Martins we trust
AGONAsport’s Olympiacos contributor, Theo Bouras, talks about the importance of Marinakis’ trust in coach Pedro Martins despite the club ending another season without hardware.
In his ninth season as the Olympiacos FC boss, Evangelos Marinakis has shown signs of patience. Gone are the days where managers were ousted on a regular basis. In what will be the second consecutive season without silverware in Piraeus, Marinakis has made it clear that Pedro Martins is his manager, and the man that will be in charge of leading the ship in 2019-20.
After a promising start to the season, Olympiacos looked like they were ready to contend for the Greek Super League crown, the Greek Cup, and were poised to make a deep run in Europe.
Last year’s season was a complete disappointment. The 2017-18 squad showed very little on the pitch and had no passion. Martins was appointed as the team’s manager last April but would only begin his coaching duties once the season would officially end. The Erythrolefki had a ton of departures and arrivals this past off-season. The focus of the new signings would be the attitude that would lead to a locker room with good chemistry. For his part, Martins put in plenty of hours at the Renti Training Grounds and worked tirelessly.
After successfully qualifying for the Europa League group stages, the Erythrolefki struggled to keep up with an in-form PAOK team in the Super League standings. A 3-1 loss in Toumba buried any chances the Legend had of chasing its 45th Greek championship. A 3-2 aggregate loss to Dynamo Kyiv in the Europa League round of 16 ended their European campaign as well. The only goal the team had remaining was the Greek Cup, a trophy they haven’t won since 2015.
In what can only be labeled as the most embarrassing elimination in the history of the storied club, Olympiacos lost 0-1 to Lamia at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium; thus officially ending the team’s chances at winning any trophies this season. Many were quick to blame Martins for the Greek Cup elimination. He rested Daniel Podence and Kostas Fortounis in a match when, in reality, the Greek Cup was the only thing worth playing for. I look at things a different way. Do you really need Fortounis and Podence to defeat Lamia at home? A Lamia squad that had five regular starters missing as well. The team created 28 (!) chances. Lamia had one. They capitalized on theirs, Olympiacos did not.
If we look at how Martins has done on the Super League front, he has amassed 54 points in 23 games and is on pace for about 70 points in the season. If we compare the projected 70 points to other Marinakis years, this is how this team would fare:
2010-11: 1st Olympiacos (73 points), 2nd place Panathinaikos (60 points)
2011-12: 1st Olympiacos (73 points), 2nd place Panathinaikos (66 points)
2012-13: 1st Olympiacos (77 points), 2nd place PAOK (62 points)
2013-14: 1st Olympiacos (86 points), 2nd place PAOK (69 points) **keep in mind there were 34 matchdays during this season instead of 30
1st 2014-15: Olympiacos (78 points), 2nd place Panathinaikos (66 points) **keep in mind there were 34 matchdays during this season instead of 30
1st 2015-16: Olympiacos (85 points), 2nd place Panathinaikos (55 points)
1st 2016-17: Olympiacos (67 points), 2nd place PAOK (61 points)
Although the 2018-19 team (assuming they hit the 70 point mark) would only be an improvement over the 2016-17 team, their point total isn’t too bad. They would still win the league every year between 2011 and 2016. As much as I hate to admit it, PAOK is on a historic run this year and the two derby losses to them are what ultimately cost the Erythrolefki the League.
Marinakis showing patience with Martins is possibly a sign of good things to come. The Olympiacos board is planning to show him full commitment and live and die with him. If Martins wins the league next year and has a deeper run in Europe, this could be the start of a new dynasty. If the Reds don’t qualify for the Champions League next year and get off to a slow start in the Greek League, Marinakis will feel like he’s a made a mistake. At that point in the season, though, it’ll be too little, too late.